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Last Call for Romance

Unwritten Rules and Guidelines for Tinder

Let’s all come to terms with this right now: not everyone is going to have that perfect meet-cute out of a Tom Hanks romantic comedy. The one where the man and woman both reach for the same book in a quiet/cozy Barnes and Noble, and fall in love immediately over a cup of some bullshit grande latte from Starbucks. No. That’s not real life. For the rest of us hiding behind our phones in need of instant gratification, Tinder is our salvation.

For anyone who doesn’t yet know what I’m talking about, Tinder is a “dating” app based on location that pulls information from your Facebook to create your profile. The app then pulls up “matches” that meet your age/sex/location criteria. All you see in these potential matches are a few photos, any mutual friends or interests (according to your Facebook profile) and one tagline. You have the option to “swipe right” if you find them attractive, and left if you don’t (with a satisfying stamp that says NOPE across their unfortunate face). Some say it’s slightly vain and shallow, but remember what I mentioned about instant gratification? We only have ourselves to blame for this one.

If I haven’t completely turned you off yet, I’m going to assume you’re open to the idea of “igniting the flame” in time for Valentine’s Day. Whether you’ve dabbled around with it in the past or are completely new to the concept, having knowledge of these unwritten laws will help you take your game to the next level. You’ll soon opt out of those unsuccessful 4am last calls at some bar for actually pulling off digital romance from the comfort of your phone.

Look Your Best

There is the harsh reality to online dating profiles: Looks definitely matter. You cannot expect people to swipe right on your profile if you don’t look physically attractive. Not many people look at your profile to evaluate non-physical attributes. It’s usually the physical appearance that gets assessed before anything else. Do you believe in love at first swipe?

Be Honest

False advertising is a deal breaker. You’re not going to get results if your photos are outdated or misleading. Have you ever watched the MTV show, Catfish? Yeah, it never works out. Be honest and be proud of who you are.

Only The Strong Survive

You’re probably going to receive some vulgar messages and pathetic hookup invites: “Hey, wanna be my ‘Tinderella’ for the night?” Just remember, this isn’t Christian Mingle. You can count on those weird/creepy/perverted messages. If you feel threatened or get freaked out easily, just remember what app you’re on and chill out.

Get Creative

If you’re ready to message a hot match, remember how many other matches/messages they must get. Avoid the “Hey,” “What’s up” or “Hey, how’s it going” pick-up lines. How unoriginal can you possibly be? Get creative. You don’t have to go to the extremes, but aim to be different.

Photo No-Nos

I can’t speak for everyone, but after conducting thorough “research,” here are things that lead to a quick “nope”:

1. Bathroom Selfie

2. Gym/flexing/no shirt photo

3. Wedding/obvious GF/BF photo

4. Photo of a celebrity or someone who is not you (Remember the Catfish rule)

5. Prom Photo (It’s time to move on...)

Don’t Be Too Persistent, Play It Cool

There is nothing worse than coming off as desperate right away. If someone doesn’t respond to your first message, then maybe they don’t have time at the moment to cultivate their Tinder account, or maybe they are just not that into you. Following it up with a bunch of other ignored messages (or worse, the single “?”) just makes things worse and makes you look like a weirdo. Take your time and stay calm.

Don’t Drink And Tinder

It’s understandable that people love to drink and Tinder. I get it: you’ve had a few drinks and you’re feeling extremely flirty. Be realistic though—you are going to be much more forgiving when it comes to swiping right, and you are going to be much more forward in your messaging. Some of the worst pick-up lines are sent on Friday and Saturday nights. In your intoxicated state it is unlikely you will be able to maintain the charm that could potentially win you a date. Don’t blow your chance because of that extra shot that you probably shouldn’t have taken during last call.

Don’t Meet Them In A Private Place

If you have already made it to this stage, congratulations. You still got it. When you are meeting your Tinder date for the first time in person, it’s best not to meet up in a private place such as an apartment or car ( happens). Always drive yourself so you have a clean getaway opportunity and meet up somewhere in public.

Don’t Tell Everybody

Some people have not exactly warmed up to the idea of Tinder dating being a successful (and not shallow) dating game. Sometimes it’s better to tell people you are going on a blind date rather than a Tinder date, especially if you are going on a lot of Tinder dates in a single week.

Ask Them Out Again

Listen, I don’t know who came up with this “don’t call until two days after the first date” rule. No. Get that out of your head and stop playing games. If the date was fun and you really enjoyed your time with a certain person, by all means go out again! Turning a Tinder date into something more is not at all that bad if you honestly like the person. In fact, you may be looking at your next relationship. Remember what I mentioned about a Tom Hanks romantic comedy? Tinder is sort of like a modern day version of You’ve Got Mail. Go find your Meg Ryan.

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